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Folate deficiency causes a disorder resulting in distinctive dyserythropoietic abnormalities in the bone marrow - megaloblastic erythropoiesis - associated with abnormally large red cells in the peripheral blood - macrocytosis.
Folate is present in most foods, notably green vegetables, liver and nuts, but it may be destroyed by cooking.
In patients with grossly deficient diets folate deficiency is relatively common because stores are meagre, being sufficient for only 3-4 months.